Maryland fair vendors rack up hundreds of food safety violations

Posted on September 7, 2014 by

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by Doug Powell

More than 80 percent of the food vendors at last year’s Great Frederick Fair used unsafe food practices, according to inspections by the Frederick County Health Department.

Great Frederick FairThe department’s health inspectors recommended corrective actions for 56 of the 67 permitted vendors at the 2013 fair. The vendors’ offerings ranged from corn dogs and caramel apples to country ham sandwiches and Maryland crab soup.

Inspectors often found food that was “out of temperature” — a vendor threw out hamburgers, hot dogs and sausage links voluntarily after the items were found to be at an unsafe temperature all afternoon.

But the most frequent violations were for the vendors’ kitchen setup: permits were not displayed, wash stations had no overhead protection and coolers and freezers were missing thermometers.

The county’s inspectors generally visit vendors as soon as they set up their tent or stand. On occasion, inspectors see violations after a vendor has started serving food.

“We don’t want to hold up or hinder the fair or the vendors by not allowing them to start because there are so many vendors and so few of us,” Food Control Program Manager Wendy Cochran said.

Cochran said they expect to issue between 70 and 80 food vendor permits for this year’s fair, slightly more than last year.
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Posted in: Family safety